Friday, July 07, 2006

Systems of Spiritual Energy

Systems of Spiritual Energy

In the gospel of Matthew, there's a famous chapter where Jesus speaks about marriage, divorce and celibacy. Let me quote some lines here:

"...that at the beginning, the Creator made them male and female, and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate". (Matthew 19:4-6)

When a disciple commented that,"it is better not to marry". Jesus replied:

"Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For some are eunuchs because they were born that way, others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it." (Matthew 19:11-12).

A married couple is, as Jesus said, "one flesh". Two lives are intertwined so tightly that it is impossible for one to suffer or enjoy anything without having an effect on the other. Marriage, if practiced properly, is a good way to work out your karma and hasten your spiritual evolution.

By having a partner to share your life, you will always have a "mirror" to reflect your shortcomings; you can see yourself better because all your actions trigger immedate reactions from your partner. I've also given another analogy before: a married couple is like a binary star--two stars caught up in each other's gravitational field, and hence have to evolve as a single system.

If marriage is so important, why then did Jesus say "others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven"? Is that also a legitimate path to enlightenment?

In general, Jewish rabbis and priests do not practice celibacy. Only certain Jewish sects such as the Essenes do so. There are of course, many academic debates as to whether Jesus himself was also an Essene. And despite the intriguing speculations made popular by the Da Vinci Code, there are no conclusive evidence indicating that Mary Magdalene is Jesus' wife either.

What's more interesting though is the fact that Jesus himself seem to acknowledge the fact that there are those who renounce marriage in their quest for spiritual enlightenment ("the kingdom of heaven"). And it is not a path suitable for everyone ("only those to whom it has been given").

The path of the celibate--the Sanyasin--is one that requires great spiritual discipline. The renunciate chooses the path of celibacy not because there's anything "sinful" about sex or relationship with the opposite sex. Instead he chooses to walk the spiritual path alone because he is like a scientist who wants a controlled "lab environment" to conduct his experiments. Instead of a binary star system, which is more complex to analyze and tackle, he chooses to isolate his own soul so that the variables are more manageable.

Now, this approach has its dangers too if one is not careful. The renunciate, in his isolation, might end up hardening his ego, because he does not have someone close to him to curb his ego-centric tendencies. He deludes himself into thinking that he is "superior" to other more ordinary souls, who prefer a more worldly path. He can easily collapse into the equivalent of a Black Hole, if he is not vigilant.

On the other hand, those who choose the path of marriage has to be strong enough to take the emotional roller-coaster ride that comes with human relationships. The pain and pleasure that comes with the life of a householder must be handled with equanimity. It is so easy to loose one's balance. Selfishness in a marriage hurts the partner and the immediate family members most. In bad cases, instability results and the entire binary star system collapses.

In the mystical language of the yogis, the renunciate learns to control the two spiritual energy currents in his body--the ida and the pingala--into the spine's central energy current, the shushumna. When these vibratory currents are merged into the shushumna, then spiritual awareness slowly unfolds, as the energy rises up the spine.

A family is but a similar energy system on a larger scale. The husband has to bear the energy of the pingala channel and the wife, the ida. When the energies are well balanced, with each person understanding his and her role, within the structure of the family, then the harmony of shushumna is achieved. This is the spiritual quest which all families must be conscious of.

A dysfunctional family is the result of a warped energy system. Maybe there's selfishness on the part of the wife, or maybe the husband is unfaithful. Or perhaps there's an overall excessive preoccupation with material pursuits. Such a family loses its spine--that unifying energy of shushumna. There will be quarrels and unhappiness. If the family members are not aware of their spiritual roles, they will have to suffer a great deal of pain in the process.

How important it is for each one of us to be aware of spiritual energy behind every thought and action and its effects on the larger systems around us. We must be conscious of the forces that operate within our bodies and minds first and then, and see their affects on the world around us--our families, communities and nations. If we have no consciousness of the micro thoughts and actions that spring from our minds, then we must suffer its painful effects in the macro-world.

Start with that energy system within you first. Feel its vibratory power. Learn to control it. And then channel them wisely into the right direction.

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